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Some icing tips...

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Icings are sweet coatings applied over cakes and other baked products mainly to make them attractive, to introduce variety and to increase the shelf life of cakes.There are many types of icings and the application depends on the product and the occasion for which it is made. Some of the commonly used icings are:Butter cream, whipped cream, fondant and Royal Icings. The cakes displayed in shops mostly have butter cream icing on them. Though it is simple to make, ready-to-use butter cream icings are now also available in the market. All you need to do is to mix in the colour and cream using the palette knife. Observe the following points while icing cakes.1. Slice off the surface of the cake gently using a serrated knife to make it even. Make sure the cake is not warm. 2. Mix in top quality permitted colour and flavour to the butter cream using the palette knife.3. Avoid using black, blue or dark shade of any colour except chocolate. Colours should be delicate pastel.4. Colours and flavours chosen must blend well. Do not use pineapple essence for chocolate colour icing.5. Spread the icing over the cake with a palette knife evenly and decorate the coated surface using the forcing bag with appropriate nozzle.If you are baking the cake at home, you may decorate it as well. Try making different shapes such as petals, roses, leaves and alphabets , using the special nozzles that are available in the market. If you are not confident, don't worry. You apply the icing over the cake and decorate it with the following:1. Desiccated coconut2 Sweet silver balls3. Sweet cigarettes/sticks4. Grated chocolates5. Assorted tiny sweets like Gems6 Cut tinned fruits like cherry, pineapple and peaches.Keep the following in mind while icing the cake:Do not over-decorate the cake using too many coloursAvoid dark shades Do not apply too much of icing as this will mar the true taste Make sure the icing has appropriate flavour Royal icing is mostly used for wedding cakes. The Fondant Icing, which gives a shiny appearance, is used over the tiny cakes called petit fours. Fresh cream icings are used for very soft and delicate cakes.(The writer is HoD, Catering Science and Hotel Management, SNR Sons College, Coimbatore.)

R. SINGARAVELAVAN

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